A. Translation: BT’s are Baalei Teshuvah (Jews who have made life-transformative choices to return to Jewish observance on their own, later in life) while FFB’s stands for Frum From Birth (Jews who were born to observant families and raised that way).

Can they? Certainly yes! And it is now happening more and more (especially in certain Jewish communities). How likely is it? That depends on a number of factors:

There was a time that there was much more stigma regarding this, but that’s slowly wearing away, as Baalei Teshuvah and their families become an increasing large, valued and respected part of many Jewish communities. There are communities where there’s less of this stigma than others.

Another concern some may have (probably very few) is that it is said that children born to families observant of the Family Purity/Mikvah laws have certain merit, and Baalei Teshuvah are unlikely to be born to families who kept that. But I’ve heard that the Rebbe said, that those people who made such tremendous personal spiritual growth and profound life transformation have earned this merit – and more – on their own. I doubt this is usually an issue for most people.

Then there are the cultural differences. This depends a great deal on the individual personalities and circumstances of the FFB and the BT for them to be compatible (which is obviously true with any relationship). Compatibility is a huge issue in relationships, of course.

Often their families will be very different, and how they deal with family – this is important because family is a huge part of observant Jewish life. This also depends on the relationship BTs have with their families and how mutually respectful and accepting they are of one another.

Also to be considered how long BTs have been observant, whether they spent significant time immersed in an observant community or yeshiva study. I’d hate to say this but how much “you stick out” and seem different, can be a factor, too.

I know a Baal Teshuvah boy who is very integrated into a regular religious community. He’s dated a number of FFB’s but feels they lack the fervor, personal conviction, effort and struggle that BT’s often have – and its a deal-breaker for him. He’d be better paired with a BT, or with a FFB who has put tremendous effort into personal and spiritual growth and didn’t take their religious experience for granted. BT’s also often bring more worldly experience to the table, something that might be better appreciated by a fellow BT – or sometimes FFB’s are attracted to that (for better or for worse).

There are certain instinctive views or behaviors ingrained in childhood, that are hard to acquire with later learning. There are some things that FFB’s (ironically, even when not as observant) get naturally that BT’s often struggle with or work to acquire. And there are sensitivities, sometimes intensity and fervor, struggles and spiritual attainments that BT’s have that FFB’s may not even relate to.

None of these differences are insurmountable, sometimes they are insignificant, as the degrees of all this vary greatly from person to person. BTs and FFB’s can indeed be very compatible, but it takes the right kind of person on both sides (as with any relationship, actually).